Swiss car buyers are asking themselves: should we still buy an e-car despite the power crisis and the huge jump in electricity prices?
One thing is clear to the car lobby: Despite the power supply crisis, we must continue to buy electric cars. Because of the Swiss electricity mix with a low proportion of fossil fuels, electric vehicles make a significant contribution to reducing CO₂ emissions. Furthermore, a study by the Federal Office of Energy shows that the 70,000 electric cars operating on Swiss roads account for less than 0.4 percent of nationwide electricity consumption by the end of September 2021.
If you analyze the latest new car registration statistics, the energy supply crisis doesn’t seem to slow the boom in electric cars in Switzerland. 21.6 percent of newly redeemed plug-in vehicles (purely electric cars and plug-in hybrids) that could be charged via the power grid in August meant an equally large market share in the first seven months of this year (average is 24.2). Percent). However, one has to note that most of these electrified vehicles registered last month are new vehicles that were ordered much earlier in the year or even at the end of 2021 – when no one is talking about the impending power crisis. was.
So the information straight from the sales front is more meaningful than these enrollment figures from Auto Schweiz. Blick asked around and wanted to know if the impending power crisis was causing uncertainty among consumers: How do customers behave when buying a car? And what do sellers recommend?
Power crisis not an issue yet
Tamara Marty (34), saleswoman for Ernst Ruckstuhl Mobility AG in Kloten ZH, explains: “Surprisingly, the impending power crisis has not yet been an issue for our customers.” So far, neither he nor his colleagues have been asked about the subject during the sales pitch. “Maybe it’s still too early,” he suspects, “ask me again in two or three weeks.” But what advice would you give to uncertain customers? “Good question. I don’t know at the moment,” she admits honestly. “At the moment we are still selling well. Electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel.»
It sounds similar to Christian Fischer (56), co-owner of the Volvo agency of the same name at Beinwil am See AG. “So far, no customer who has bought an e-car from me has asked me if I have replacement fuel for them,” laughs Fischer. Then he gets serious: “But of course more than half of our e-car buyers generate their electricity through solar cells on the roof of the house. They did everything right.” Fischer also suspects that the impending power crisis is still too far away. “There’s still enough for everyone. But the topic can catch up with us,” he admits. And then he doesn’t know what advice he gives to his clients. “We are now at least in a comfortable position that Volvo is continuing to offer the full range of drives, from combustion engines to electric motors.”
Amag, the largest car importer in our country, recommends that customers continue to include e-cars in the evaluation when choosing a new car. “Especially in terms of bidirectional charging,” says Amag spokesman Dino Graf. In other words, there is a possibility that an e-car can not only charge electricity, but also distribute it. Of course, Albert Rosti (55), president of Auto Switzerland and SVP national counselor, also defends electromobility: “Traffic is systemically important to our society. This was confirmed to me by the Federal Council in response to my parliamentary question: it seeks to take into account the importance of mobility in the event of possible intervention measures in the power supply.»
Reconsider the ban on incinerators
However, can this response from the Federal Council reassure current and future e-car owners? Rosti believes that the impending power crisis is the poison for the further growth of the e-mobility market. and therefore demands that “the EU’s targeted ban on combustion engines from 2035 should be questioned as it broadly restricts flexibility in the use of available energy sources”. However, it seems quite doubtful whether Rosti’s EU political allies can still be turned away from the course taken to ban the combustion engine.